Honey Bee Swarms

What is a swarm?

A honey bee swarm is a natural phenomenon in which a large group of bees, typically with a queen bee, leaves their established hive en masse to search for a new location to establish a colony. Swarming is a reproductive strategy of honey bee colonies and usually occurs in the spring or early summer when the colony has grown large enough to divide.

During a swarm, the bees form a dense cluster around the queen, protecting her and ensuring the survival of the colony. The cluster may hang from a tree branch, fence, or other structure temporarily while scout bees search for a suitable new nesting site. Swarms can consist of thousands of bees and are often characterized by a buzzing sound and a swirling mass of insects in flight.

Honey bee swarms are not typically aggressive, as their primary focus is on finding a new home rather than defending their current location. However, they may appear intimidating due to their sheer numbers. Swarms are an essential part of honey bee reproduction and play a vital role in maintaining healthy bee populations and biodiversity.

Once a swarm has taken up residence, for example in a soffit, under siding, etc. they can be much more difficult and costly to remove.  Likely, you will need the services of a beekeeper to remove the bees and someone else to make repairs to the structure they were removed from.

Honey Bees

  • Nest in cavities, like the trunk of a tree
  • Build vertical combs out of beeswax which they secrete from wax glands on their abdomens.
  • Are fuzzy, in fact, honey bees are covered in hair.  They even have hair on their eyes!
  • Do not nest in the ground.

Wasps & other insects often mistaken for honey bees:

  • Can build nests out of paper they make from wood pulp
  • Can nest in the ground
  • Can be solitary
  • Build horizontal combs to raise their young

Cut-Outs:  A Cut-out is necessary when a swarm has already moved into a structure.  Siding may need to be removed or holes may need to be cut into the wall in order to remove the comb and all of the bees.  This is a specialized procedure and not all beekeepers are able to conduct cut-outs.  If you suspect your swarm has moved inside your structure, please contact someone who is able to perform cut-outs.

Beekeepers collect swarms of honey bees, not wasp nests.

If you have a swarm of honey bees, please contact a beekeeper listed below in your area to come collect the swarm.  If we can collect the swarm before it finds a home, we can prevent it from potentially moving into a man-made structure.

Please include some pictures.  A picture of the entrie swarm is helpful, as well as close up pictures of an individual bee if you can safely get one.  It’s also helpful to be able to see how high up the swarm is.  This will help whoever is responding to bring the appropriate equipment.  

Please note that Back Yard Beekeepers Association is providing this information merely as a public service and assumes no responsibility for the services provided by its members.

To be ADDED or REMOVED from this list, please email paulawolf@email.com

 

Our general membership meetings are held on the last Tuesday of most months at 7:30 PM at the Norfield Church in Weston, CT.
Please see our Calendar of Events for details.

64 Norfield Rd
Weston, CT 06883

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